Magic: The Gathering Mythic Championship 5 ended in a Javier Dominguez victory as the reigning world champion piloted Gruul Aggro to a finals victory over the tournament boogeyman in the Bant Golos deck, wielded to a second-place finish by Jean-Emmanuel Depraz. Mythic Championship 5 is the latest iteration of MTG's revamped esports program that seeks to blend the tabletop game with its online MTG Arena presence, and was hosted using the digital client, inviting 68 of the world's best players to Long Beach, California to battle for $750,000 in prizes.
While MTG Arena has been a runaway success for Wizards of the Coast, the Standard format that is its most popular offering has had a black cloud looming over it for weeks now in the Bant Golos strategy. Wizards of the Coast let the most recent Banned & Restricted announcement in early October come and go without touching the strategy despite many feeling it was oppressive, and community outcry led to the company announcing it would have an unprecedented second Banned & Restricted announcement in the same month on the day after the Mythic Championship 5 tournament wrapped up. It's obvious, then, that Wizards was looking to buy some time to see how the tournament shook out - and it will be interesting to see if the Golos deck is hit by bans tomorrow given the result.
Javier Dominguez, the World Champion from the 2018 iteration of the tournament and one of the game's most affable personalities, took an unexpected Gruul Aggro strategy to a finals win, beating Golos in the finals. It took two matches - Dominguez has the benefit of coming into the Grand Finals in the winner's bracket side, giving him two chances to win the trophy, and he'd need both. In the end, though, the strategy that Dominguez had tailored specifically to beat up on Golos decks didn't fail him, and he took home a $100,000 USD prize.
Gruul Aggro struggled for most of the tournament for Dominguez, who needed to rely on tiebreakers to make Day 2 after going 4-3 on Day 1 and again needing his percentages to hold up after he went 4-3 on the second day, with only one player with that record making the elimination rounds. As fate would have it, Dominguez made the cut and the rest is history, but the Gruul Aggro win shouldn't take away from the fact that Golos decks completely dominated the metagame, either being piloted by players or having strategies aimed specifically to defeat it. With such a warping effect on the Standard format, it seems likely Wizards of the Coast will take action, banning either Golos, Field of the Dead, or another card central to the strategy. Fears of Oko, Thief of Crowns taking over the format could see the company take pre-emptive action against the new planeswalker, too.
As it stands, however, Dominguez has once again managed to make his deck-building prowess and near-flawless play count when it matters most, taking home another huge prize. With only two Mythic Championships left this year, Dominguez will be eyeing a repeat while also watching closely to see who qualifies to compete with him at the Magic: The Gathering World Championships, a tournament he qualifies for because of his victory last year.